7UP changes 'natural' marketing claim

Cadbury Schweppes has removed any 'all natural' claims about its 7UP soft drink in the US after Center for Science in the Public Interest threatened the beverage giant with legal action.

"We are pleased that Cadbury-Schweppes has fixed what was a flawed and deceptive marketing campaign and that this issue was resolved without our actually suing," said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner. "We look forward to seeing exactly which words the company uses to describe its ingredients on labels and on marketing materials, but trust they won't imply that high-fructose corn syrup is 'natural.'"

Derived from a natural product — corn — HFCS is synthetically treated to resemble table sugar. As a result, sections of the health foods industry including national retailer Whole Foods refuse to stock any products containing the low-cost ingredient most often used as a replacement for glucose and other sweeteners.

CSPI issued its legal threat after Cadbury Schweppes reformulated 7UP in May last year to make it "all natural." Cadbury Schweppes said it will highlight those "all natural" ingredients about which there is no dispute but noted, in a mild defence of its "all natural" claims, that there are "many, varied opinions on labelling of all natural products."

CSPI also targeted Kraft for labelling its Capri Sun juice 'all natural' despite containing contains HFCS. Kraft will replace the claim with "no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives."

Industry groups such as the Sugar Association blame the Food and Drug Administration for its ambiguous definition of 'natural,' The Sugar Association has lodged a petition that has yet to gain a response asking the FDA for clarification. The current definition simply states "nothing artificial or synthetic" should be added to foods, but critics believe it should also ensure products are minimally processed.

CSPI continues to hound the food industry into delivering healthier foods and more accurate marketing. It has also issued legal threats to Coca Cola and Nestle over the weight loss claims of their energy drink Enviga, and Kellogg's and Viacom for marketing junk foods to children.

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